Mary Wangari Wamae emerged as the overall winner of the recently concluded judging process of the Angaza Awards: Women to Watch in Banking & Finance which intends to recognize and honour women who are steering and shaping the regions financial services sector. The motivation of the Angaza Awards is the need to raise awareness of seasoned women within the sector towards promoting board and C-level diversity.
The initiative was spearheaded by Kenyan Wall Street and Kaleidoscope Consultants who sought to honour the ten women leaders who have made outstanding achievements in their professions and their communities and whose contributions make them positive role models.
About Mary Wangari Wamae
Mary Wangari Wamae, 52, is the Group Executive Director for Equity Group Holdings Plc and serves as a Non-Executive Director in the Boards of Finserve Africa Limited, Equity Group Foundation, Equity Investment Bank Limited, Equity Insurance Agency Limited, Equity Bank (Kenya) Limited, Equity Bank Uganda Limited, Equity Bank Rwanda PLC, Equity Bank (Tanzania Limited) and Equity BCDC Congo.
Before her current role, she served as the Group Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Strategy of Equity Group Holdings Plc.
Mary has more than 28 years’ experience in legal practice, strategy and banking and she has led many impactful business transactions since beginning her service at the then Equity Building Society in 2004.
Before joining the Bank, she was the sole proprietor of Mary Wangari & Company Advocates, a law firm supporting various financial institutions in legal services. Prior to joining the Bank, she had practised law for 13 years and she connected with the vision and mission of Equity Building Society (as it was then known) to empower the people especially the low-income segment.
In 2019 -2020 Mary led the Group’s acquisition of BCDC in DRC and the subsequent merger with Equity Bank Congo that led Equity Group to cross the Ksh. 1 Trillion balance sheet. Equity BCDC customers now have access to credit amounting to more than USD 40 million on a Single Obligor enabling them to expand their businesses. With the acquisition, the bank in DRC now has a network of 74 branches, 214 ATMs, 13 local dedicated desks, 3055 agents and a strong network of correspondent banks to support strong cross border trade in the region.
The acquisition also made Equity Group the largest Company in capital and balance sheet in East and Central Africa and second-largest company by market capitalisation on the Nairobi Securities exchange.
The regional banking subsidiaries which she oversees contribute about 40% to the group performance.
Academic Qualifications and other Roles
Academically, Mary holds an LL.B degree from the University of Nairobi, a Masters in Leadership, Innovation and Change from York St. John’s University, United Kingdom, a Certification in Advanced Executive Management Program from Strathmore – IESE Business School, Barcelona Spain, a Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Gender and Development from the University of Nairobi.
She is also a Certified Public Secretary (Kenya) and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the Law Society of Kenya. Mary is a Certified Public Secretaries and Certified Retirement Benefits Trustee, as mandated by the Retirement Benefits Authority among other professional bodies. Currently, she serves as the Trustee of Equity’s Employee Share Ownership Plan and the Chairperson of Equity Group Holdings Plc Staff Pension Scheme.
Mentorship and Communitty
Mary is involved in mentorship for young ladies, career mentorship for professionals, scholarship sponsorships for bright but needy scholars and environmental conservation among others.
In March 2020, she pioneered the launch of a staff empowerment program, EQUIP, that aims to empower and mentor staff to advance in their careers, practise work-life balance and generally expose them to industry leaders and content that will help them network and grow in their careers.
Mary is also sponsoring more than 20 students to pursue their high school, college and university education. In 2020 she individually championed the construction of a classroom block and equipped a library for BL TEZZA School for the hearing impaired students in Nyatike Migori County.